.We arrived at Mitchell Lake at 9:00 a.m. Sunday, intending to spend an hour or so there before heading home. However, we enjoyed the site so much that we ended up spending over three hours there!
We started at the visitor center, which is surrounded by a really beautiful garden.
The staff were excited because an Audubon's Oriole had been seen nearby. We walked around the garden but saw only White-crowned Sparrows and White-winged Doves.
Out on the auto trail, we stopped at the first pond and were treated to some excellent birding, even though many of the birds were too far away for photos. The water had American Coots, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup and a solitary American Wigeon.
We were hoping for Least and Eared Grebes and we saw several of both species, as well as lots of Ruddy Ducks.
|Female Ruddy Duck|
Further along the trail we parked the car and walked up between two more large ponds. We again enjoyed seeing Eastern Phoebes and Vermilion Flycatchers but the main attraction here was a group of White Pelicans. We watched for a while as they fished. Their technique is very different from that of Brown Pelicans. The latter fish by diving into the water from the air. White Pelicans are much more sedate. They float along and fish by ducking their bills into the water. They often work as a group, forming a ring around a shoal of fish.
Several patches of trees had Savannah Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers, while American Pipits were grazing on the path itself.
Back at the car, we saw more Golden-fronted Woodpeckers and then a Ladder-Backed Woodpecker.
We'll certainly return to Mitchell Lake in the winter, when more ducks and sparrows shoud have arrived.
Our weekend trip hadn't been quite as productive for new year species as I had hoped but it raised my US total to 273 and my Texas year list to 235 species.